Impact Factor 3.877

The world's most-cited Neurosciences journals

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00687

Attention to Emotional Information is Associated with Cytokine Responses to Psychological Stress

  • 1Leibniz-Institut für Arbeitsforschung an der TU Dortmund (IfADo), Germany

This study investigated effects of mental stress on salivary cytokine levels and attention to emotional stimuli, as well as associations between stress-induced changes of immune and cognitive parameters. A total of 60 young adults were randomly assigned to either a high-stress or a low-stress group, with high stress being induced by (socially evaluated) Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT). Saliva samples were collected before, 5 minutes after, and 45 minutes after completion of the stress task, and were assayed for pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Three distinct types of attention – alerting, orienting, and executive control - were measured by the modified Emotional Attention Network Test Integration (E-ANTI). Both stressors triggered significant increases in IFN-α, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-2, IL-5, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, and IL-13 at 45 minutes after stress induction (all p’s <.05). Levels of IL-1β and IL-6 increased only in the high-stress group. Alerting attention was positively associated with more pronounced increases of IL-1β, IFN-α, and TNF-α in both groups. Further, better orienting attention after presentation of negative cues predicted higher increases in IFN-α, TNF-α, IL-2, IL-5, and IL-10 in high-stress group. In contrast, better cognitive control was associated with higher levels of IL-17A in low-stress group. We conclude that attention processes modulate the increases of salivary cytokines after stress exposure, and that these effects depend on stress level, particular attention network, and stimulus valence.

Keywords: Inflammation, Cytokines, psychological stress, Attention Networks, emotional information

Received: 15 May 2018; Accepted: 13 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Lee E. Eiden, National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States

Reviewed by:

Gábor B. Makara, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), Hungary
Ben Nephew, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Maydych, Claus, Watzl and Kleinsorge. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Viktoriya Maydych, Leibniz-Institut für Arbeitsforschung an der TU Dortmund (IfADo), Dortmund, Germany,